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Taiwan paid $900,000 for Guatemalan lobbying in the U.S.

Guatemala-Taiwan | NINA IMAGES

January 18, 2022 8:13pm

Updated: January 20, 2022 6:05pm

Taiwan agreed to pay for a $900,000 lobbying contract to promote Guatemala with U.S.officials, announced the Guatemalan government on Monday. Guatemala aims to promote investment, tourism and small businesses by lobbying.

"Guatemala thanks Taiwan for the support that will allow us to enhance the country's position in the United States," said the Guatemalan government in a statement.

According to recent public filings, the contract was signed by Guatemalan Ambassador to the U.S. Alfonso Quinonez and Ballard Partners on January 12 and is worth $900,000.

The one-year contract encompasses "strategic consulting and advocacy services… related to the United States government, including interactions with United States government officials."

On Monday, Taipei's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou said that the arrangement followed the principle of "mutual assistance and mutual benefit to promote pragmatic diplomacy."

"In the future, the two countries will continue to promote various programs beneficial to their nations and peoples on the basis of existing good cooperation," she said.

The move comes as Beijing tries to strengthen its foothold in Central America. In December of last year, Nicaragua cut ties with Taiwan and instead recognized mainland China. In return, Nicaragua received 200,000 doses of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.

Guatemala had previously announced that despite pressure from Beijing to switch diplomatic recognition, the Central American country has no intention of accepting mainland China's offer.

Guatemala is one of the last 13 diplomatic allies Taiwan has left and is the largest economy still recognizing the island.